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The Musgrave Ritual 

An obscure family document containing an enigmatic ritual holds the key to a hidden treasure if Holmes can decipher the mystery.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
... Sherlock Holmes
... Dr Watson
... Richard Brunton
... Sir Reginald Musgrave
Johanna Kirby ... Rachel Howells
Teresa Banham ... Janet Tregallis
... Inspector Fereday
Patrick Blackwell ... Tregallis


Convalescent Holmes takes a holiday with Watson at the estate of his old college acquaintance Reginald Musgrave. Musgrave's butler is discovered prying into an enigmatic, centuries-old family document outlining an apparently meaningless ritual. When the butler and a maid he was romantically involved with disappear, Holmes and Watson set about deciphering the ritual's meaning which they hope will lead them to a long-buried treasure. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 July 1986 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original short story was Holmes relating this case to Watson, as he solved it before he and Watson even met. The dialogue between Holmes and Watson about Holmes's earliest cases is a nod to the short story. See more »


Brunton explains the history of the manor to Watson, and says, "it is thought to be the oldest inhabited building in the country." He should have said "county", in accordance with the original short story. There are many inhabited buildings in England, such as Windsor Castle, which are far older. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Watson: Splendid air!
[Holmes coughs horribly]
Dr. Watson: Rough shooting.
[Holmes groans]
Dr. Watson: Perhaps a little fishing.
[Holmes groans again]
Dr. Watson: And the best cook in the County of Sussex, wouldn't you say?
See more »


Version of The Musgrave Ritual (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

I Plan to Memorize the Musgrave Ritual Chant
11 February 2014 | by See all my reviews

A faithful adaptation of one of the best of the Holmes stories. It has to do with a butler who gets wind of a document that is actually a kind of treasure map. Unfortunately for him, he hooks up with an unstable maid who gets in the way of his realizing an end to all this. The butler is caught in Musgrave's study, rifling through important papers, and is summarily fired. Despite pleading for a couple days to prepare (and do whatever it is he is going to do), Musgrave give him till the next day. This sets up a series of events based on a set of statements that have come to be known as "The Musgrave Ritual." They have to do with locations and positions, but are also threatening in their own way. Holmes and Watson begin to sort out the craziness, involving the disappearance of the butler and the crazy chambermaid, and in the process begin to decipher the Ritual. Clothing has been found indicating that people may have drowned, but that makes no sense. It leads to a cellar and a series of discoveries. It is kind of like Poe's "The Gold Bug" in some ways. Holmes always has a great sense of spatial relationships and this is his top asset here. There is atmosphere and suspense and a wonderful conclusion to this. Brett and Hardwicke really do themselves proud here. One might compare this to one of the Basil Rathbone Holmes efforts.

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